How many times have you interrupted a conversation to check those messages that just popped? Or watched a full length movie without pausing for a phone break? Not denying the fact that smartphones can be immensely useful devices, but an uncontrollable use of these devices can negatively affect our daily work and lifestyle.
Gone are the days when phones were just confined as communication tools. In today’s generation, they’re cameras, health trackers, gaming consoles, GPS and the list doesn’t stop. We turn to our devices for everything, from ordering groceries or reading the news, to paying bills or even controlling the TV remote.
Smartphone addiction, also known as “nomophobia”, which is the fear of being without a phone, is driven a lot because of an Internet addiction problem. It’s not just the regular checking of mails and messages that turn into a problem, it’s the over usage of the phone.
Addiction to social networking apps, texting and messaging can extend to the point where the friends made virtually become more significant than real-life relationships. Haven’t we all seen people sitting together in an eatery, disregarding each other as they are fully engaged with their smartphones?
Although the internet can be a great place to meet new people, reconnect with old friends but online relationships are not a healthy substitute for real-life interactions. Moreover, uncontrollable web surfing, playing games, watching videos or checking social media feeds can lead to lower productivity at work.
“My office provides many recreational facilities like a basketball and a badminton court, a gym, cafeteria and many more things. But my colleagues and I hardly make use of any of those things and end up replying on checking Instagram or surfing various websites to keep track of good deals,” says Supriya who works in an MNC, in Hyderabad.
This is clear addiction as one may seem to have trouble in completing tasks at home or work, feels isolated from friends and family, feels empty, dreadful, desperate or even end up having panic or anxiety attacks if they don’t use their smartphone. Some may even suffer physical illness like loneliness, anxiety, stress, depression, attention deficit disorders, eating disorders, lacking the ability to concentrate or focus for long.
How to control this addiction? It’s simple, as you only need to change a few habits. Most important ones are to turn off your phone at certain times of the day, especially when you’re driving, in the bathroom, in a meeting, at the gym, having food. Don’t bring your phone to bed, instead read a book. Replace your smartphone use with healthier activities. Try to focus on the person you’re talking to. Apart from these basic lifestyle changes, you can also play a little bit with the settings of your phone by turning off notifications, removing social media and unnecessary apps and having a phone-free day once a week.